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Blood In The Gutters: Week’s New Crime Comics – Thief of Thieves, D.B. Cooper, Last Mortal, Crime Does Not Pay
Should you find yourself in a comic-book shop this week (and you should), here’s what you should buy: A crime comic of crime comics; The FBI’s most wanted comic-book character; Sweet lovely death, I am waiting for your breath; overpriced hardcovers do not pay.
Thief of Thieves #2–Well, any doubts I had last month have been laid pretty much to rest. I finally read the first issue of this book the other day, and it was definitely the best thing I’ve yet to read by Robert Kirkman. Master thief Redmond has decided to quit the life, despite the obvious fact that stealing stuff is what he’s best at doing, and if there’s to be any story at all, getting out of the life will be even more difficult than it was to get in. It’s far from the most original premise in the world, but Kirkman’s dialogue is at its finest, his sense of pacing is well-executed, and you should already know how I feel about Shawn Martinbrough’s work by now, but if you don’t, let’s just say it’s well past time the guy got his due in the industry. Hopefully, this will be the book to accomplish that. Don’t wait for the trade–buy this now.
The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #1–At last year’s San Diego Comical Book Convention and Quilting Bee, I chatted it up with writer/artist James Heffron a bit and bought from him his Further Adventures of D.B. Cooper. It’s a pretty good little book, and though it certainly sated (in part) my appetite for more stories featuring one of the FBI’s most notorious black-eyes, I found myself still wanting another, perhaps more serious treatment of the world’s most at-large thief. While this book by Brian Churilla also, like Heffron’s, promises to delve into a more sci-fi kind of realm with the story, it also looks like it will be a more “mature audiences” sort of a gig. I’m playing wait-and-see before I make a final call, but I am looking forward to the seeing.
The Last Mortal hardcover–Image has been cranking out so much stuff lately, a good chunk of it at pretty high quality, that it’s no real surprise that this on slipped right past me. This book revolves around Alec King, who is your typical failure of a small-time crook, but when he tries to take the final exit, he finds that he cannot die. Though none of the names of the creative team ring any bells for me, the story sounds intriguing enough. I might wait for a softcover version, but mostly because I just don’t dig hardcovers. Twenty bucks for a hardcover collecting four issues plus bonus material is a pretty good deal for your money, I’d say.
Crime Does Not Pay archives volume 1 hardcover–I guess the ”best of” collection that Dark Horse put out of this seminal crime comic last fall must have done pretty well in order to justify a complete fancy-pants archive collection like this. My copy of Blackjacked and Pistol-Whipped has been sitting on my to-read stack since then (and it seems like it’s been there longer than that). I haven’t been in all that much of a hurry to get to it. This pre-code crime comic has always been a curiosity, but generally speaking, golden-age stuff of even this caliber doesn’t really do it for me. But the book was cheap and also related the story of artist Bob Wood, who would eventually be convicted of murder himself and then eventually a murder victim. As great a story as that is, I can’t justify plunking down 50 bucks for these archive collections, at least not right now. Maybe once I read some, or if the archives are as nice as EC’s. But that’s just me.
Some other books of note this week: if you don’t already own a copy of Batman: The Killing Joke, the single greatest Joker story of all time, DC is re-releasing their DC Universe by Alan Moore hardcover this week, which includes that along with all of Moore’s other stand-alone stories. IDW is shipping their graphic novel version of Mark Twain’s Tales of Mystery, illustrated by Mark Menton III (or Menton-cubed, as I think he goes by). And Fantagraphics also has shipping this week the prose novel The Big Town by Monte Schultz, which sounds like a nice slice of Roaring ’20s gangsterism with a hint of the surreal.